Registrations of rental vehicles in New Zealand in 2016 totaled 19,607 units, making the segment on paper the fourth biggest after commercial utes, small cars, and medium SUVs.
The biggest sector was the 31,538 two- and four-wheel-drive utes, followed by 21,473 medium SUVs and 19,193 small cars. The smallest was the 185 upper large cars, predominantly the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, HSV Senator.
Of course rentals are included in the utes, SUVs, and small car numbers, but, taken separately – as some marketing researchers do – they represent a sizeable chunk of industry business as visitors to NZ continue to flock in.
Registrations of rentals last year jumped by 2630 vehicles over 2015 – or 50 a calendar week. SUVs accounted for 40 per cent of all rentals, mirroring that of the overall market where they represented 36 per cent.
In the past three years sales of vehicles to rental companies have jumped 47.8 per cent, from 13,263 in 2014 to 19,193 in 2016.
They represented 10.4 per cent of 2014’s overall sales of 127,147 units; 12.7 per cent (17,037) of 2015’s 134,011; and 13.3 per cent (19,193) of last year’s record 146,753 numbers.
Three carmakers figured strongly behind last year’s growth in the hire car market. Ford’s rental sales leapt 94.2 per cent, from 765 to 1486; Nissan’s jumped 80.7 per cent from 608 to 1099; Hyundai’s were up 52.2 per cent, from 833 to 1268.
Holden was up 12.6 per cent, from 2695 to 3036, and Mazda 9.5 per cent from 846 to 927. Toyota, the traditional big wheel in the rental market, pulled back on sales last year, down 4.0 per cent from 8773 units in 2015 to 8422.
Visitors to NZ over the next six years are forecast by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to jump by one million or so, from 3.5 million last year to 4.5 million in 2022.
More Australians, Americans, Britons, Japanese, Germans will holiday here. Tourists from China will more than double, from around 410,000 last year to 900,000 in 2022.
In other segments, private new vehicle sales have jumped 20.8 per cent in three years, from 41,459 in 2014 to 50,088 last year. Year-on-year they went up 8.0 per cent in 2015 and 12.0 per cent in 2016.
Business sales went up 6.3 per cent in the three years 2014-16. They slipped 0.2 per cent in 2015, down to 72,223 from 72,425 the year before, but rose 6.7 per cent in 2016 to 77,058 from 72,223 in 2015.